a beautiful masai shield ,buffalo skin ,wood ,pigments 82cm
Kenya. Masai men, in order to become warriors, must go out alone into the bush and kill a male lion with their bare hands. When a Masai warrior is initiated their spear and shield are decorated with red paint, which is symbolic of their status in society. Each shield is crafted from buffalo hide sewn onto a wooden frame. The handle is attached at the center Among the Masai, red paint was traditionally obtained by mixing earth with blood or the red sap of the solanum campylae fruit. White was derived from local clays, and black from the skins of burnt gourds.
Shields remain one of the Masai warrior's most important tools. They were used in warfare and hunting as well as practice and training. Outside of the warring context, however, shields were used in rites of passage, and also functioned as prestige objects